Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct Break Cruise, Sun & Mon

I got a whopping 4 hours of sleep Saturday night because Mr. I Have a Fear of Missing My Flight Fraser was convinced we had to leave the house at 4:30 am to catch our 7:05 flight to Rome.  It figures - we were delayed an hour since the little towing machine thingy that backs the plane away from the gate didn't work so they had to bring another one over.  Why it took an hour to accomplish this is beyond me since we were surrounded by gates on both sides of us and you would think those towing machine thingies would be just about everywhere out on the tarmac.  

We got off the ground just in time because I was about to go all psycho on this tiny little Asian lady whose mother or father must have been a camel because she was smacking the hell out of her gum.  Save it for takeoff, whydontcha.  She dared pop one big 'ol bubble that sounded as if someone had fired a gun, so I turned around to give her my big-eyed incredulous look followed in quick succession by the narrowed, squinty eyed glare that dared her to do it again.  Once we got in the air, at least the roar of the engines drowned out MOST of the racket as she continued to chew her cud gum.

We arrived in Rome with plenty of time to spare, so we collected our bags, found our driver and set off for the long ride to the port of Civitavecchia.  Unfortunately, we didn't pass anything memorable on our way out of town and up the coast.  All of us dozed on and off since we had been up before the chickens that morning.

Here are a couple pics the oldest daughter took from her balcony.  We traveled on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas.

Our first excursion was the following day, Monday, so we headed out to see a bit of Sicily.  We drove up a couple thousand feet on this terribly narrow road filled with enough switchbacks to make me dizzy and were promptly surrounded by a big bank of fog that totally obscured our views from Mt. Etna.

Below is a shot of my better half atop some lava.  The tour guide kept spouting off all sorts of information about the eruptions that seemed to happen about every other year.  I'm happy to report that we did not witness any spewing or sputtering of lava, ash, etc.

The youngest daughter scooped up some of the lava bits and ferreted them away in the small plastic baggie that held the headphones for our receiver systems while on the tour.  We did our little covert recon in the 20ish minutes we were given to see the crater, which wasn't really visible in all the eerie fog.  I opted out of the crater climb because I am not good at traversing inclines, especially those with all sorts of loose rocks underfoot.  I prefer to do my climbing on a treadmill, thank you very much.  According to me, the highlight of our Mt. Etna trek was the sampling of almond wine and cannoli - yum!

For the remainder of the day, we spent some time traveling along the coast and into the town of Taormina.  

Looking in one direction, you could see the pretty blue waters of the Ionian Sea.  In the other direction, you looked up towards the hills of lava that formed this island eons ago.

The town was very picturesque... as if any cruise ship excursions are gonna take you to the slums.  Check out the steel rods showing underneath the pretty second floor balcony seen below.  I'm thinking this area is prone to some tectonic movement thanks to the active volcano.  And the combo of wind and sun gave everything a bit of a shabby chic feel.

Here is the obligatory shot of one of the local churches we passed while strolling back through the streets of town.

We didn't get to enjoy the scenery, and some gelato, until after my husband had made us haul butt down to the Teatro Greco, or Greek Theater, seen below.  

Archaeologists believe it was constructed in the 7th century BC by Romans atop the foundations of an earlier theater from the Greek period.  Those ancient folks sure knew how to pick some prime real estate, with that million dollar view of the water behind what remains of the main stage.  Below is a picture of me pausing from taking a picture of the theater for Annie to snap a quick pic of me. Ya got that?

If you look closely at the pic below, you can see me on the far left, with my husband seated in front of the fountain while our youngest daughter is climbing up the ever present center-of-a-darling-square fountain right behind him.  

And finally, the fun shots.  The youngest daughter often has to fill the role of photographer for the oldest daughter.  I thought this was a pretty cool pic she took of her big sister goofing around on the balcony in the port.

Last, but certainly not least, is our documentation of the first RC towel animal.  What a cute pair!

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